If you are always on the lookout for the best practices in web analytics, then here is an article that will satisfy your heart’s desire.
Before installing Google Analytics, you should have a discussion with your IT team and key business stakeholders, and sort out all the matters regarding the subject. You should have a better idea at the end of your discussion about the following points:
- Whether your site has multiple domains.
- Whether your site has multiple sub domains. You should be able to distinguish between multiple domains and multiple sub domains.
- Whether you should be provided with the reports of all of your subdomains packed up into a single report or separately.
- Whether you prefer to discard internal traffic from your web analytics report.
- You should also be aware of the default document of your site.
- Also select the four most important web pages in your site, visiting which can be concluded as a successful visit.
Through an in-depth discussion with your teams, all the details regarding the above should be clearer. Now let us look at how to set up an account and the best practices involved in using Google Analytics.
1) The first step is to create a new Google Analytics account. If you already have a Google account, then it is a bit easier. In addition, it would nice to integrate your ad words account (if have one), since it can be linked up to analytics account on an account to account basis. If you do not have an analytics account, then never mind, you can sign up in the Google analytics site.
2) The next step is to configure the profiles created. Even after you sign up, nothing is configured yet and so it is your task to edit the account. In order to configure your default document, you should know the default document of your site. The earlier session with your IT team will come to your rescue here.
3) Create the required filters: In order to segment, the data of web analytics create filters according to your requirements. For example, if you have multiple subdomains, then create a filter, which makes it easier for Google to recognize your multiple sub domains. If you want to discard internal traffic, then create a filter for such a requirement. The recommended thing is to create an additional profile with the above-mentioned filter. This is better than applying your external traffic filter to all of your profiles because this won’t let you know the quantity of internal traffic contributing to your key metrics.
4) Configure your goals: If you don’t pre-plan your work in Google Analytics, then it will consume your time. A good insight into the concerned subject really helps us to work better with Google Analytics. In order to create goals, consider the criteria for a successful visit in terms of your monetary gains. For example, for a successful visit to a particular site, the criteria may be whether the visitor signs a newsletter or e-mail an article to a friend. Make the possible ways to connect your goals with actual pages on the site. After setting up the criteria, Google will help in configuring your goals.
5) Tag your pages: If your site is a single domain, then it is not needed. You just have to copy the codes provided by Google. If your site possesses multiple domains, then tag your pages, which will help you track the web traffic.
6) Tag all pages: The main problem with Google Analytics is that it may not be able to track all your pages. It is a much harder task to accomplish. Therefore, you should make it clear that you tag all your pages. All of your pop-up pages and all your external pages should be tagged. The main problem if you don’t tag these pages is that if you set your goals against these pages then these pages will not be tracked for your web analytics task. Therefore, it is better to tag all your pages and avoid pitfalls.
7) Tags should be placed at the bottom of the pages. They should not be placed at the top or in the header or any other place. This is the best practice of using tags in web analytics. However, lately, there are analysts who recommend putting the tracking after the header, since some custom tracking requires the .js file to be called prior to custom tracking. Check out your requirements and technical implications with your IT team.
8) Tags should not be placed inside borders, tables, or frames. The correct position of tags will help you to get a precise data for your reports.
9) Should have knowledge about your unique page identity. Now websites have become more dynamic in the way they react to specific customers and how they personalize content. Know about the combination of file name and criteria that give your page its unique identity and make your web analytics tool more effective by providing it with this valuable information.
Source attributes are mainly concerned with the path of your visitors to your website, i.e. whether they have entered your site from other websites, campaigns or search engines.
Page attributes look at the quantity and nature of pages consumed by your visitors. User attributes are concerned with the identity of your visitor, i.e. if they have logged in or not.
User attributes are stored up in the cookies. Your tags will help you to read the information collected in your cookies much easier. Therefore, you should use your cookies intelligently.
In order to tag your website easily, I’d suggest you use tag manager like Google Tag Manager so that you can easily deploy Google Analytics tag across your website. This will save you a tremendous amount of time and improves your operational efficiencies.